Making the most of networking and word of mouth can be the key to success when it comes to running your business. After all, if no one knows about your business, how will they know they need you? But networking isn’t just about handing out business cards and going to networking events – it’s also about connecting with people online. LinkedIn is a great way to connect with likeminded professionals and your potential new customers. Here are four simple steps to making the most of networking online:
Make the right connections
LinkedIn is all about bringing your real-life connections into the digital world. So if you’re just starting out on LinkedIn, you should start with connecting with all the people you communicate with in your professional sphere. This can include colleagues, clients, suppliers and distributers, as well as people you have connected with at networking events. If you want to take the guesswork out of connecting with someone, you can even import your email contact list to LinkedIn to send invites to everyone in your list. It’s that easy.
Once you have your general network on LinkedIn, it’s time to go through your suggested connections and see who you might have missed, or who LinkedIn thinks might benefit you in the future. It’s also important to continue adding people to your network over time, after networking events or when a new person joins your company. Every time you request a connection with someone, it’s important to ask yourself – ‘Will this person add value to me, or will I add value to them?’
Demonstrate how you can add value
You know all about how great your business is and how you can bring real value to your customers lives. But how do you communicate this to potential customers on LinkedIn? Posting regular, relevant and interesting content is a great start, but it’s also important to engage with your network regularly. This can include liking and commenting on your connection’s posts, but also contributing to LinkedIn groups. Remember, LinkedIn is a social media platform at the end of the day.
It’s also important to make sure all the elements of your profile, from your profile picture and header, to your headline, summary, experience and skills, clearly communicate how you can bring real value to other people’s lives. Make sure your messaging is aligned with your business, but also communicates your point of difference from your competition.
Know the balance
LinkedIn is all about making the most of your business connections and their potential to help your business, but it’s also about how you can help other people achieve their dreams. The give and take is key when it comes to networking and it’s the same on LinkedIn. If there’s an opportunity to help someone out, you should do it! You never know when that simple deed will help you in the future.
On a similar point, it’s important not to bombard people with requests to help your business or to connect with people. Just like in real life, it can come across a little desperate and leave a bad taste in people’s mouths. Make sure you remain friendly and professional, not overbearing and needy.
Keep it simple
It can be easy to get overwhelmed by LinkedIn and all of the opportunities it can bring you and your business, but like most things, it’s important to keep it simple. Remember – these are people you have communicated with in the past, so they know you in a business sense, so keep it professional when commenting and messaging people.
When asking for potential connections to new clients or other business opportunities from your LinkedIn network, remember to keep it brief, polite and respond to everyone to tries to help you.
Making the most of your online networks can seem overwhelming at the beginning, but it’s simply transferring your real-life connections into a different world. If you’re not sure about how to traverse the world of social media networking, talking to Digital Freak can help you. Contact us today to talk about how we can help you stand out and be found online.